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Success Stories Within The IDD Community: Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is a competitive swimmer who is known for being the most decorated Olympian of all time. Throughout his life, Phelps struggled with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But, he did not let that stop him from accomplishing his dreams.

Early Life:

Michael Fred Phelps was born on June 30th, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland. Phelps is the youngest of his three siblings. For education, he attended Rodgers Forge Elementary, Dumbarton Middle School, and Towson High School. In kindergarten, his teacher told his mother that Phelps would never be able to focus on anything. In classes, he was known for being a troublemaker. When Phelps was 9 years old, his parents got divorced. He later said that this negatively impacted him as his relationship with his father grew weaker. 

When Phelps was in the sixth grade, he was diagnosed with ADHD. Shortly after this, his mom decided that he should try swimming as a way to release his energy. At first, Phelps hated swimming, but once he got a hang of it he started to love it. 

“Once I figured out how to swim, I felt so free. I could go fast in the pool, it turned out, in part because being in the pool slowed down my mind. In the water, I felt, for the first time, in control.”

Michael Phelps

Although Phelps had a difficult time concentrating in the classroom, he excelled in the pool. By age 10 Michael Phelps held a national rank as a swimmer. When he was 11 years, he met renowned swim coach Bob Bowman. Although the two butted heads at first, Bowman saw potential in Phelps and continued to work with him. 

Career Success:

At the young age of 15, Phelps swam for the first time at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Since then, he has medaled at every Summer Olympics event he has participated in. In total, Michael Phelps has 28 Olympic medals, 23 of which are gold medals. Phelps has competed in numerous World Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, and Olympics. 

In 2012, Phelps announced his first retirement from the sport of swimming. But, in 2014, he announced that he would be coming out of retirement. In May 2014, he competed and won gold in the 100-meter butterfly event at the Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte, North Carolina. Phelps continued to compete in the 2015 US Nationals and 2016 Summer Olympics before officially retiring. His last event was the  4 × 100-meter medley relay in which he won his 28th gold medal. He had an amazing career!  

Current Day:

On June 13, 2016, Phelps was married to Nicole Johnson, who is a former Miss California. Together they have three sons: Boomer, Beckett, and Maverick. Phelps, along with Coach Bowman, volunteer as coaches for the Arizona State swim team. 

Be sure to check out our previous success story featuring RJ Mitte and a similar success story featuring Li Xiang!

Sources:

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/personal-stories/famous-people/celebrity-spotlight-how-michael-phelps-adhd-helped-him-make-olympic-history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Phelps

https://olympics.com/en/athletes/michael-phelps-ii

https://www.biography.com/athlete/michael-phelps https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michael-Phelps

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